Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And they're off!

We began building a new animal barn last year, as part of an Interdisciplinary Core class, Environmental Citizen: Building a Barn

The required permitting process proved elaborate and lengthy, and as a result we did not break ground in time for the winter weather. Instead we prefabricated most of the structural components and stored them inside a building where they would season nicely. (Being made of green hemlock lumber, it was necessary that they be seasoned.)

Spring is a poor building season in Maine, with very wet ground hampering everything, so we waited for fall.

Now a second set of students in Environmental Citizen: Building a Barn will finish what the first set started.

Here Associate Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement Timothy Peabody is shown digging the trenches for that elaborate building permit. We're putting in a perimeter drain for the slab, to carry the run-off from the extra roof surface to a detention pond. When we get done there will actually be better storm water management than before, not just because of this rather elaborate drain, but because we will demolish the old barn, which had no such protection, as we go. We will recycle much of the material in the old barn into the new.

If you are one of the students in this class this fall, you will no doubt be interested to see the rather large amount of prep work the professors are doing for a class not due to start for three more weeks! But the class is intended to teach carpentry and agriculture, and to discuss philosophies of service and labor, not to teach site work and back-hoe operation.

Visitors to Unity College for the first time might also be surprised to see what kinds of additional skills our professors have, in addition to teaching and research! Handy folks, these UC professors.

Tim and I did wonder, as we sweated away in the 90% humidity and 80 F temperatures, whether or not all this shovel and pipe work might not have made a good topic for a hands-on seminar!

But don't worry. There'll be some left to do.

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